If you have never been to the UK you might not have heard of the Lake District National Park in the North West of England.
It is England’s largest national park at 2,292 km2 / 885 miles2 and has at least 200 fell tops, England’s deepest lake, which is Wastwater at 74 m / 243 ft. It also boasts England’s longest lake, Lake Windermere, at 16.9 km / 10.5 miles long. The Lake District, as the name suggests, contains a lot of lakes, tarns and waters, but only one of these is officially a lake, Bassenthewaite Lake; all the others are officially “meres” or “waters” – go figure.
The Lake District is a special place for our family. Ever since I met my husband, which is now just over 25 years ago, we have been going to the Lake District, either with other family members, or just on our own. We have seen the Lakes, as most people call it, at its best during the summer, and at its very foggiest during the autumn, and even snow during winter.
Our family has always had a great time, no matter what the weather, after all, you’re on your holidays, as my sister-in-law would always say. We always camped at the same site in a small village called Glenridding on Ullswater. It was our home base, be it in a static caravan or in tents; from there we would go to Ambleside to see the smallest bridge house, or go to Kendal for a day out; shopping would always take place in nearby Penrith, especially when it was market day.
The main reason most people visit the Lakes is to climb its many mountains; and we did some of that as well. In fact, our daughter must have been the youngest to get up a mountain called Helvellyn, which is the third highest in the Lakes and in England; she was only 5 years old when she conquered it, with us by her side. On that occasion we went across Striding Edge, which involves a lot of scrambling. Striding Edge stretches over 1.5 km to the mountain summit. It is a notorious accident spot among hikers and scramblers, so we were extra careful, making a game out of it called “grab a rock”. It was an amazing climb, and to this day she is proud as punch that she climbed this mountain and Striding Edge for the first time at such a young age.
The Lake District is famous for all sorts of things, among them for being the home of the poet Wordsworth, who lived in a small cottage in Grasmere. Grasmere is also famous for the Grasmere Sports Day in August, with the highlight being the fell racing. It is traditional that it should rain on Grasmere Sports Day; out of all the years we have been to the annual event, I think we had sunshine only a couple of times. It wouldn’t be the same without the rain.
The Lakes is also the place where my brother-in-law taught me how to drive a car properly round all the tiny bendy roads. Thanks to him I mastered the art of take off in a car on those roads.
Those memories we have from our holidays in the Lakes are priceless, especially as we haven’t been back since we moved to Canada six years ago, having swapped the mountains of the Lakes for the Rocky Mountains. To us the Lakes will always be special, and to my husband, who used to go on camping trips with his brother even more so, as these memories are all he has left of his brother, who sadly passed away last year.